Archive for the First Things Category

Crying Wolf Really Loud

Posted in conservatism, Donald Trump, Enemies, First Things, Heterodox Academy, Hillary Clinton, Jonathan Haidt, Liberalism, The Media with tags , , , on November 18, 2016 by McKinley Pitts

I ought to share something that might explain this election and make those of us that didn’t like its outcome to at least understand the extreme vitriol. It has to do with the perceptions that media deliver to us and how those perceptions cloud our reason and our view of the world.

Humans, while very smart, sometimes really can be manipulated by the daily drumbeat of media accusations. It worked on Trump. Ask any Trump opponent. And it certainly worked on Clinton. Ask any Clinton opponent. The former can’t even say Trump’s name, it’s always “Literally Hitler” and the latter never refers to Hillary as anything other than something like “Cackling Hag”.

Depending on your initial point of view and the news sources you visit, an image gets formed in your head. Trump is Hitler or Hillary is crooked, or the election was stolen, or crooked. These come from the daily drumbeat of a cynical media. But regardless of a lot of NOT good-natured banter and trolling of friends, the fact remains that we should have compassion for one another. And that compassion demands that we also reason with one another…civilly.

Those on my side of the street (and that’s not exactly Republican or Libertarian, or Democrat, or Socialist; I am a different mix but a mix that, full disclosure, allowed me to vote for Trump with a distinctly destructive glee) we can be the meanest trolls on the planet just like many others from a variety of political points of view.

But it is time to put that aside and figure out how to move forward together. Take fifteen minutes and read this liberal’s blog, The Slate Star Codex. It puts some of the crazier rhetoric in perspective. I didn’t pick it out willy-nilly. I think it is one of those rare essays that can really change your world. To read it go HERE. The author is NOT pro-Trump.

I would also suggest something that has changed my view on a number of things, especially the motivations of my political opponents. This TED talk is by Johathan Haidt, a social psychologist, a liberal, and the founder of Heterodox Academy. In the TED he describes his concept of “The moral roots of liberals and conservatives.” Regardless of the current variety of political labels, we can roughly assign them to either liberal or conservative, the two largest groups anyway even if more strictly defined.

Haidt’s TED takes 18 minutes to view and can change you. It changed me. Go HERE to view it.

If you are distressed by what has happened over the past couple of weeks, these links can go a long way to at least explaining.


Camile Paglia: Woman of the Year

Posted in Big Government, conservatism, Culture, Enemies, First Things, freedom, General Discussion, Philosophy, Politics, Progressivism on January 4, 2014 by McKinley Pitts

Re. Camile Paglia: Woman of the Year

When you experience some sort of medical symptom such as a rash, you might choose to go to a doctor. Typically, you ask that doctor to render an opinion as to what might be the matter. The doctor will use a combination of medical signs, i.e., measurable things like blood pressure or bacteria in the urine, observing the rash, taking a biopsy the rash, et al and medical symptoms, i.e., asking the patient what it feels like or what they have been experiencing. In turn, opinion is rendered, treatment prescribed, behavior proscribed, etc., to ameliorate the problem.

If what you want is hard, irrefutable evidence that Western Civilization is experiencing collapse, which collapse might be defined as radical, rapid change (it can be relatively slow) that clearly harms the prospects of its inhabitants and that many might view as bad, then we will probably have to wait for its collapse. Immediately prior to the old Roman Empire’s collapse, the majority of Romans could not foresee that the Visigoths at the gate would ever bring down the Empire. The barbarians were no big deal and nothing had changed as the water in the pot reached boiling. But wasn’t that the point of the 1960s freak movement? A call that civilization was indeed in a bad way and things needed to change.

Point is that one may easily parrot the de jour talking points of the left that either all is just fine or all is going to hell if we don’t get a lot more government control a la MSNBC, CNN, and on ad infinitum. Demanding so-called absolute, unalloyed facts/truth before we dare to adjust our fair republic’s current trajectory seems to be madness, especially since so many of our brightest diagnosticians seem to believe that said trajectory apparently will quickly intersect with an immovable reality.

Me? I don’t want to wait until we hit the fan. I want to hear from those diagnosticians and make a judgement call as to whether we jink the car left or right. Seems left is causing a lot of damage. We need to jink right a bit. Who’s crazy or not? Rather than listening to the screeching vapors on the left that we need more government control of every aspect of our commerce and medical care to the likes of scolds like Kathleen Sebelius and Ezekiel Emanuel, to give unfettered war making powers to a nit-wit in the White House and his crazed enablers at the State Department, its much easier right now for me to listen to the likes of Camile Paglia, David Mamet, Christopher Hitchens, Peter Hitchens, George Will, Charles Krauthammer, Heather MacDonald, Thomas Sowell, Peggy Noonan, Victor Davis Hanson, Jonah Goldberg, Ross Douthat, Roger Kimball, and a host of other public intellectuals that posit that perhaps all is not quite right in Paradise.

RealClearReligion – Hannah Arendt, Augustinian

Posted in First Things on September 16, 2013 by McKinley Pitts

A key Augustine insight was that “evil is not something substantial, but rather a type of non-being, a lack of some perfection that ought to be present.”

RealClearReligion – Hannah Arendt, Augustinian.

Benjamin Disraeli

Posted in First Things with tags on August 18, 2013 by McKinley Pitts

I am a Conservative to preserve all that is good in our constitution, a Radical to remove all that is bad. I seek to preserve property and to respect order, and I equally decry the appeal to the passions of the many or the prejudices of the few.

Benjamin Disraeli KG, PC, FRS, Earl of Beaconsfield. (Prime Minister, Great Britain 1868, 1874-1880)

via Cranmer.

Should we pray to Mother-Father God, Benevolent Being? The Chili Cornbread Eucharist:

Posted in Christianity, Culture, Faith, First Things, Religion with tags on August 15, 2013 by McKinley Pitts

Mother-Father God, Benevolent Being

via The American Spectator : Ex-Evangelicals & Chili Cornbread Eucharist.

The Project Gutenberg eBook of Pascal’s Pensées, by Blaise Pascal.

Posted in Faith, First Things, Philosophy, Religion, Science with tags on August 13, 2013 by McKinley Pitts

Who doesn’t love free books! Pascal’s Pensees with a forward by TS Eliot:

via The Project Gutenberg eBook of Pascal's Pensées, by Blaise Pascal..

Why Aren’t Religious People More Creative? | The American Conservative

Posted in Art, Christianity, creativity, Culture, Faith, First Things on August 10, 2013 by McKinley Pitts

Rod Dreher over at TAC asks this wonderful question and I can’t help but think, Yea! Not mentioned very loudly, however, the culture, media, and academe have all been hijacked by people that hate the religious (especially the Christian variety) and make no bones about mocking them/us on a moment-by-moment basis. This happened to me in college as my writing instructors regularly graded me down for expressing conservative views. I learned quickly to keep it all to myself.

Why Aren’t Religious People More Creative? | The American Conservative.